GF cut bone?



Will the GF be able to cut bone (within the confines of the 1/4" thickness parameter)? I’m thinking of bone saddle and nut blanks for guitars. Be nice to reduce the rough out time on the dimensional aspects like width and top and bottom radius.


I’d be pretty surprised if it can cut 1/4in bone. It shouldn’t have an issue with engraving / etching, though.


Do you think it might be able to cut 1/8" or just that it’s unlikely it will cut bone regardless of thickness?


Jim. . .


This is a really interesting idea! I’m going to try to acquire some bone with a nice flat area for testing. I’ll let you know next laser thursday :smile:


That would be very cool for acoustic instruments. A couple years ago I asked my brother to try laser cutting very thin mother of pearl for my acoustic instrument inlays. He told me the laser just shattered the MOP. Don’t know what settings he tried. Saw one of the GF demonstration pieces that I believe used inlayed abalone shell. Maybe MOP might be possible with the right settings.


I suspect the smell would be stunningly bad–enough to serve as an excellent test for any air scrubbers the GF team is testing.


I don’t know if you can get it by tomorrow, but various kinds of bone are available from knife making supply places

And as @morganstanfield say, you might want to warn folks about the smell before you start! Having worked with if for knives I can tell you it is not an odor you soon forget.


Any guitar store with a repair shop will also carry flat bone for saddle and nut making.

I know this will sound a little demented, but I very much like the odor of bone dust when I’m working with bone on the table sander. I do wear an respirator, but you still can notice it when you take it off after you finish the sanding. Also lets you know it’s real bone! :wink:


I can mail you a piece or two to play with if you like, that you can try on the following Laser Thursday.


You have singular tastes, my friend. For those who don’t know, bone dust, especially if it’s hot, smells like burning hair x 10. :stuck_out_tongue:


One of the first things I’ll try at least for engraving. I have saved up lots of cow femur through the years for various projects. Deer season is here. Antlers anyone? Was also going to scour around for old ivory piano keys to try. And that leads me to think of Bakelite and nitrocellulose things like cue balls that replaced ivory. Fire hazard I guess.


That sounds like a singularly bad idea, unstabilized nitrocellulose (without camphor) is also called gun cotton… It is mostly just used as a soluble lacquer these days though so you are unlikely to run into big chunks of it. Bakelite has not been in use for a long time either, and most things made of it have enough antique value that you might not want to stick them in the laser.

Antlers/horn/tooth material is a very interesting idea if they take engraving. Laser scrimshaw!


A characteristic of burning protein; hair, skin fingernail or rhino horn. I’m surprised a taste for that can be acquired… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


The kids just took a field trip to “The Bone Room” and a fellow teacher came back with a chunk of camel bone he intends to try out in our shop laser cutter. I’ll report back.


Sorry to necro this thread, but I wanted to check back and see if you’ve tried this yet?

Edited to add: I am not trying to add to your To-Do list! I hope you’re getting some sleep these days, my friend :slight_smile:


I’ll do it tomorrow. I finally got my belt sander here to smooth out some cow shank.


Cow shank - the best of the shanks :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I did a test engrave (5% power, 335 i/m, 675 lpi), score (5%, 60 i/m and cut (80%, 15 i/m) on a piece of bone that was over 1/4" thick in most places.

The score and engrave of bone is really neat. Lots of potential there. The cut went maybe a millimeter deep.

This was some dense cow shank. It would cut through some very thin bone at higher power and slower speed or with multiple cuts.

So how I would finish this domino would be to use a bandsaw to finish the cut and then a belt or strip sander to sand down to size.

Weekly Highlights for the Week ending January 21, 2017

Was there a residue or odor during or after the lasering?


Didn’t even notice it when I opened the lid. Exhaust did a pretty good job on this. Since the dots were fairly small there wasn’t a whole lot of burning. It was worse cutting the bone with a saw!